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Summer Sojourns: Offbeat destinations for a week-long trip

Wondering where to head this summer? Here are five destinations, both touristy and offbeat.

summer trips, summer destinations, summer places to go, summer countries to visit, summer spots, indian express, indian express news Where are you heading to this summer? (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Summer holidays are round the corner, and, if you haven’t planned your itinerary yet, here’s a mix of offbeat and popular destinations to choose from, for a week-long trip.

Portugal

1 euro = Rs 81 (conversion rates change daily); average temperature: 22 degrees Celsius
You might wonder how euros could be wallet-friendly, but if you aren’t spending much, then it all works out, and that’s what makes the slice of country that is Portugal a great bet. May and early June are a good time to visit as the hotel rates are cheaper, and locals are just readying themselves for the tourist season. There’s sea, sun and sand in the Algarve region, while Lisbon and Sintra will give you the much-needed dose of local culture and food. The sweet wines of the picturesque Porto are a must try. Also keep an ear out for the strains of fado floating from cafés in the evenings. If trekking interests you, there are trails up north.

South Korea

1 South Korean won = Re 0.062; 24 degrees Celsius
If you have followed the Olympic Games, you would know about Pyeongchang and Seoul, but there is a lot more to explore. Seoul is a mix of the modern and the traditional, you can sample the latest in cosmetics trends and K-pop while admiring the traditional architecture of Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces. It’s also a foodie and shopper’s paradise. Head further out to some quietude at the Yeongam Gurim Village, a village that borders the Wolchulsan National Park, Busan, for the beach and historical buildings, and Jeju — a semi-tropical island that has been made into a tourist haven with trekking trails around Hallasan, a dormant volcano, lava tubes and the beautiful Cheonjiyeon waterfall. May is also the end of the cherry blossom season, so do check out the blossoming dates in Jinhae, if you’ve missed them in Japan.

Southern Italy

1 euro = Rs 81; 25 degrees Celsius
For Indians, the basics of Italian culture would seem very familiar, because at the heart of it all are two things — food and family. While most people tour Rome, Venice and Florence, ideally one should explore the country in two sets — the south and north-central. Definitely visit Rome and Pisa, but also head further south to the charming streets of Bari and Lecce and to the Amalfi Coast — dig into a lovely Italian meal at the many terrace cafés and surf through the souvenirs collections at the hole-in-the-wall colourful curio shops. Also, go island hopping across the Aeolian Islands, experience Capri’s nightlife and foodgasm in Palermo in Sicily.

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Peru

1 Peruvian sol = Rs 20; 20 degrees Celsius
Spend at least 10-15 days amid the stunning ancient vistas of Machu Picchu on the Andes mountains. The driest season from May-September makes it the best time to walk the Inca trail. While the climb itself is a trip on its own, Peru has a host of other natural wonders to explore from — Cusco, the heart of Inca culture, Lake Titicaca, world’s highest navigable lake, Amazon jungles, and the ancient Chachapoya site of Kuélap.

Gurez, Jammu & Kashmir

25 degrees Celsius
The touristy Srinagar, Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam are oft-visited places in Jammu and Kashmir but very few venture towards the offbeat tracks of the Gurez Valley. Part of ancient Dardistan, and currently on the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, Gurez is a highly militarised zone. Yet, as is with most locations that fall on the Silk Route, the pristine pastoral lands of Gurez are a sight for sore eyes and a balm for stressed minds. After a view of luscious greens and the gushing waters of the blue Kishanganga river, tourists can head up and soak in the breathtaking views of Razdan Pass. There are many fishing and camping opportunities in the Tulail Valley, as well as trekking routes for enthusiasts. Immerse yourself in the local Dard-Shin culture, and gaze at Habba Khatoon, the mountain named after the Kashmiri poetess whose soul is said to be wandering and looking for her lover.

First published on: 29-04-2018 at 12:00:16 am
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